Youth Leaders Interns Step Out of Comfort Zones to Prepare for Future - Little Tokyo Service Center
youth leaders interns 2023

Youth Leaders Interns Step Out of Comfort Zones to Prepare for Future

LTSC’s Youth Leaders Internship (YLI) program empowers local youth to become strong, vocal, and active members of their community. We support our youth interns in becoming compassionate and confident leaders with the skills needed to succeed in adulthood. Interns mentor students from LTSC’s Mi CASA after school program and participate in a variety of training and workshops. This year’s cohort includes Xeandric, Shamar, Naseebah, and Mitsuko–high school students who live in LTSC’s affordable housing.


Why did you become an intern? What appealed to you?

Naseebah: I found out about YLI from a family friend and thought it sounded fun. I grew up here at Casa Heiwa, so I was looking forward to helping out. I also knew it would also help me get out of my comfort zone because I’m a quiet person.

Xeandric: My mom was the one who first found out about it and suggested that I do it, and the more I looked into it, the more it sounded like something I wanted to do. It sounded fun. It’s a really good environment for me to be in after school, and I love communicating with people.

Mitsuko: I found out about it through Nancy and Gilda who work in Resident Services, and I was interested in helping to teach kids with skills I already know.


What kinds of activities have you done with the kids?

Xeandric: We’ve done various workshops. We did a marshmallow workshop where we had to build towers. I taught a dancing workshop too.

Naseebah: We have hip hop workshops and arts and crafts workshops. My favorites are the ones run by Coffee. We did a tie-dye workshop with her that was really fun. 

Mitsuko: I did a music activity, and I also teach the kids how to draw because I’m an artist myself.


How do you hope this experience will help you achieve your goals for the future?

Shamar: My dream is to be a YouTuber and to make people happy, so this internship is helping me learn how to work with kids and make them happy.

Mitsuko: This internship helped me learn my communication skills which will help me once I enter the real world to be more social and talk to others. I’m hoping to one day start a business so I think these skills will help with that. 


What do you like about coming here after school?

Xeandric: Sometimes I come from a bad day at school, but when I come here, I’m able to turn that around. Plus I get to see the gang! And I like to be around the kids and have fun with them. We’re mentors and role models to the Mi CASA kids. They look up to us.


What has your relationship been like with LTSC staff during the program?

Xeandric: I really like working with Jackie, the Youth Services Coordinator. She’s a great mentor and she’s very approachable. They teach us to just enjoy the time that we’re here.

Naseebah: I feel really safe around them, they help guide me if I ever made mistakes.


Would you recommend this internship to others?

Xeandric: Yes, it’s fun! And it helps you to develop your leadership and communication skills, especially if you’re a shy person. They’re great skills to have in the real world. It’s also helped me deepen my relationship with my community.

Shamar: Yes, it helped me learn leadership skills.

Nassebah: It’s a really easygoing and flexible internship that teaches you universal skills, and there are great snacks!

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